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Lock it and leave it

By Terry Roorda

Bolt Lock Kit

Bolt Lock


It happens all the time: You take off in the cool of the morning leathered up and helmeted for a ride to a run or a rally or the races and arrive as the day’s heating up, and find yourself having to park a good distance off from where the action is. Now you’ve got your leather and your bucket to deal with and you sure don’t want to be horsing those around in the heat, and you’re not jazzed about the prospect of just stacking them there on your bike exposed and vulnerable to light-fingered passersby. What to do?

The solution lies in the Bolt Lock Kit, a devilishly clever and elegantly engineered locking device that uses a combination of a vinyl-coated steel cable, top hat-style docking fixture and stout tamper-proof lock body to fasten your effects securely to your bike.

The docking fixture can be attached at any suitably sized and positioned bolt on your bike, and while that sounds simple enough, in practice finding such a fastener proved the only real challenge in installing this device. The manufacturer has a few generic suggestions—a fender strut bolt, triple tree bolt or footpeg bolt— none of which I found appealing for various reasons. The Fat Boy undergoing the installation had saddlebags, so the struts were out of the question, and both the triple tree and footpeg locations would result in less than ideal placement of the secured gear. I mulled the situation over extensively and settled at last on a license plate bolt, and that’s proven to be a stroke of genius. It’s a perfect location for the Fat Boy and perfect on the other bikes in the garage as well—both the Electra Glide and Bonneville—and should work on virtually anything out of Milwaukee. The beauty of the location is that it suspends helmets above the ground and lets you stack your leathers up on the saddle away from paint and pipes. And as an added benefit, nobody can swipe your plate, and you can even loop the cable through the rear wheel if you’re clever.

The actual installation couldn’t be simpler, removing the selected bolt, replacing it with a capscrew of the same diameter, and running it through the docking fixture. I used a fiber-sleeved aircraft-style nut to back it up and make it impervious to monkeying with in this application.

With that in place, it becomes a simple matter of looping a cable through whatever you’re securing and then sticking the spade end of the cable through the ring end and sticking it into a slot on the side of the lock body. The lock body then snaps onto the dock and another twist of the barrel key fixes it there. The 12-inch cable is adequate for attaching helmets to the bike, but to get the most out of your Bolt Lock you need to spend another $9.95 to get the 6-foot cable which is long enough to slip through the sleeves of two leathers and lock them down (other lengths are available as well, including 18 inches, 3 feet and 12 feet). The Bolt Lock has two locking slots, so you can use two cables simultaneously.

Be prepared to spend some time getting familiar with the operation of the lock body, since it’s tricky at first. Depending on the key position, you can be locking or unlocking either of the two slots, or locking or unlocking the thing to the dock. It took me a good half hour of practice to get the procedure down initially, and if I haven’t used the device in a while I need a quick refresher. But when you think about it, that’s yet another means of thwarting theft.

I’ve taken to mounting the Bolt Lock on whichever bike I happen to be riding, including the bikes I review periodically, and it’s been a real stress reliever at crowded events when I’m away from the bike for long spells. And if I wasn’t so cheap, I’d spend another $7.95 each for a couple more docking fixtures to attach to each bike so I’d be riding more and wrenching less.

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